Fadil Novalic, prime minister of one of the two entities that make up Bosnia, was sentenced on Wednesday to 4 years in prison in a case of the purchase of artificial respirators in China at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fadil Novalic, 63, was convicted at first instance of "
abuse of power
" in the case involving the purchase of 100 ventilators in April 2020, Bosnian State Court Judge Branko Peric has announced. .
The head of government of the Croat-Muslim entity, absent when the verdict was read, had denounced since the start of this trial two years ago a "
" aimed at discrediting him.
According to the panel of judges, Novalic “
abused his position
” to create conditions allowing an agricultural company to import the ventilators for the amount of 10.5 million Bosnian marks (5.4 million euros).
Fadil Novalic acted in this way "
while knowing that the core business of the Srebrena Malina company is the processing and preservation of fruit and vegetables
" and that it was not registered in the register of importers of medicines and medical equipment, explained Judge Peric.
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The small company, whose owner Fikret Hodzic was condemned in the same lawsuit to 5 years of prison, had been registered on the list of authorized importers at the same time of the purchase of these artificial respirators, which moreover were unusable.
This equipment did not even have the minimum required parameters
" and "
could not be used for the care of patients in serious condition
", according to the judge, who specified that the damage to the State budget thus corresponded to the contract amount.
The director of civil protection of the Croatian-Muslim entity, Fahrudin Solak, intermediary between the government and the company, was sentenced to 6 years in prison, because he was also found guilty of “counterfeiting official documents
The Covid-19 killed some 16,300 people in Bosnia, a country which often recorded in the midst of a pandemic one of the highest deaths in the world compared to the number of inhabitants.
The pandemic has so far killed nearly 6.9 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).